Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said today they will team up to launch a $60 million initiative to offer free, online, college-level courses under a joint superbrand known as edX. The announcement instantly makes the entity a preeminent player in the burgeoning worldwide online education sector, which has seen several major start-ups -- including some affiliated with top-tier universities -- in recent months. MIT already has a head start. In December, it announced it would create Web-based courses featuring discussion forums, short videos, and laboratory simulations, all under the guidance of MIT professors and teaching assistants. It hopes other universities will adopt the technology from its open-source platform.
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